Professional Photo Labs Offer Professional Photographers Valuable Training and Marketing Assistance

Professional portrait photographers looking for marketing assistance, photo-shop training or camera room techniques should check out the resources at their professional photo lab. Many of today’s top pro photo labs offer the professional studio photographer personal one on one marketing and training assistance. Contact your pro labs customer service department to see what they can offer your business.

One example idea, how to get free sample display prints. Contact some of your previous studio customers explaining that you are going to have a special photography gallery display at a certain location. Describe the theme of the event and let your customer know you will be offering special portrait sessions and discount display prices for portraits that will be included in this gallery display. Make several ‘display sizes’ available to your client. Naturally your customer will receive this portrait after the gallery show is finished. Picture frames could also be included in the display discount and should be.

The portrait studio owner gets the chance to have a gallery show funded by new sessions and portrait purchases from previous clients. Their clients get a savings and the excitement of being included in this special show. The excitement of being included in your gallery show is the strongest motivator for your client to participate in your display. Clients should be given a few invitations that they can send to their friends announcing the gallery display opening.

One more important tip, one way to stay ahead in today’s professional portrait market is with the highest quality professional photo printing available. Of course top quality Kodak photographic prints require the very best high quality digital image files. Your pro lab mentor is a good resource to pick up the latest techniques and settings in digital camera file processing. Using your cameras raw file option combined with Adobe Software’s Camera Raw plugin or Lightroom 3 software are good choices to achieve finely tuned high quality digital camera files.

Your pro lab can provide you the optimum settings to use during your camera file processing work. Here is a good opportunity to have a few test prints made to verify that you are setting the ideal values for shadow and highlight detail in your camera files. Maximum printing detail for shadows and highlights do vary somewhat between printing systems and technologies. For those professional photographers who are striving to produce the very best, no compromises products these steps are important.

3 Tools For Sharpening Your Photos

One thing to note about digital photos before we go on… the picture format which you use. If you’ve set you digital camera to capture in JPEG format, it is likely you’ve encounter some loss of quality in the picture due to image compression. In this case, it does make sense to apply sharpening on the photo. If, however, you’ve selected to shoot in RAW mode, then you’ll unlikely face any image degradation – sharpening a RAW image is usually not necessary.

1. The Unsharp Mask
The Unsharp Mask tool is common in many photo editing software programs, including Adobe Photoshop Elements and Corel Paintshop Pro. Typically, when you apply the Unsharp Mask, you can control 3 factors – the Amount, Radius and Threshold:

  • Amount – this refers to the intensity of the sharpening
  • Radius – this refers to the distance sharpening occurs around a pixel)
  • Threshold – defines when sharpening starts to occur when two points are different in brightness

Learn to play with these three factors to obtain the optimal amount of sharpening in a photo. Apply just enough sharpening but don’t over do it. Sharpening a photo too much will usually make the edges in the photo too “harsh” or visible.

2. Smart Sharpen
Another tool at your disposal when sharpening photos is the Smart Sharpen tool. In Adobe Photoshop Elements, this tool is available as the Adjust Sharpness option within the Enhance Menu. Other photo editing programs (e.g. Corel Paintshop Pro) have similar tools but under different names.

Typically, I’d make sure that I perform the sharpening step as the last step in the photo workflow. That means that I’ll clean up the image, adjust its color, tone, brightness, etc. and flatten the image before perform a sharpen. I find that ultimately yields a better looking image in the end. The nice thing about invoking smart sharpening tools is that all the settings have been built into the sharpening algorithm already – the program will select the most appropriate sharpening options for you.

3. Advanced Sharpening Tools
If you’ve used Photoshop Lightroom or the Adobe Camera Raw plug-in for Photoshop, you’ll realize that these programs give you much more powerful photo sharpening toolkits. The algorithms for sharpening in Photoshop Lightroom and Photoshop far surpass what you see in simpler packages like Photoshop Elements and Corel Paintshop Pro. In fact, the tools in Photoshop Lightroom are so good that I’d highly recommend that you buy a copy if you’re a serious digital photographer.

Also, here’s a little known secret about working in Photoshop Lightroom. Press down the Alt (PC) or Option (Mac) key as you adjust any of the sliders and the sharpening appears in black-and-white, which is much easier to see. If you’ve used Lightroom to some extent before, you’ll know this tip is a great help.

There are dedicated photo sharpening tools out there. One of the programs I like a lot is the Nik Software Sharpener Pro. The sharpening algorithms in this package match those in Photoshop Lightroom and you can tell the difference in the sharpened image’s quality, as compared to those sharpened by more inferior programs.

In summary, sharpening is a common procedure in photo workflows. However, to ensure that your sharpened image looks good – you should be sure what kind of sharpening settings you should apply – set these either manually or through a smart sharpening tool. If you’re a more advanced user, you should try using tools like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, the Adobe Camera Raw plug-in for Photoshop, as well as the Nik Software Sharpener Pro – all of which have very good sharpening algorithms.

So until next time, here’s wishing you luck in editing your photos!

3 Timeline Tips for Travel Pros Using Facebook

Exciting changes travel quickly! Facebook’s Timeline for business pages is HOT news!

As a travel pro, here are 3 tips and tricks, plus an important bonus tactic, to keep you ahead of the game. I know, you’re probably overwhelmed by bookings, accounting and keeping up with supplier changes. Now you wonder how you’ll manage to tackle another Facebook change. I’ve put together a quick update for you with how-to’s and strategy designed for the travel and tourism pro.

#1 – Your new Cover Photo

This exciting change gives you the opportunity to showcase your specialty visually! From a marketing standpoint this is awesome news! You can now highlight:

• Your best-selling destination
• Upcoming group departure
• Your latest family trip destination and focus on your credibility
• Photos of people enjoying your services (you may want to get a release from those pictured)

Tech stuff: This new cover photo needs to be 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall. Most people choose a high-definition photo that captures the essence of their brand, the business model and their key specialty.

Tip: don’t use a photo that doesn’t belong to you and follow Facebook’s rules on cover photos.

How to add your cover photo:

If you don’t have a cover photo yet, log into your business page and you’ll see a bar at the top that will walk you through setting up your new page. You can choose where to upload a photo from, see example Cover Photo

If you already have uploaded a cover photo and would like to change it, hover over “Change Photo” when you’re logged in as an Admin on your page.

Tip: you can reposition the photo up and down, but not sideways. Be certain to do any cropping prior to uploading your photo. See example below: How to change a cover shot

Here’s an example of a travel consultant who has used the cover photo extremely well to highlight her business: Journey’s by Jo example of Cover Photo Tips for Travel Pros:

You may consider changing your cover photo to highlight destinations during their peak selling period. For example, in fall when you’re selling ski vacations, change your cover photo to ski photos you’ve taken, purchased or acquired the rights to use.

Highlight the destination you’re focusing on in your regular Facebook posting calendar. For example, if you’re talking about Italy on your page and highlighting things to do, fabulous museums and cycling tours, change your cover photo to match the theme.

#2 Messages

Great news! Your clients can now send you private messages in addition to posting on your Wall. This gives you a chance to have a private conversation about bookings, dates or concerns without the Facebook world knowing. You can turn this feature on or off from your Admin dashboard by clicking Manage Permissions. How to change the Message Feature The message feature is enabled by default. To disable it, click and remove the check-mark. As a page Admin you can reply to a message, but not send one to a fan. The reverse of this is also true, you can now privately message another page owner. Think of the power of messaging a supplier.

#3 Highlight posts on your Timeline

Imagine your best photos and videos you’ve included in posts being spread out across the width of your wall. What a great way to showcase photos from your last fam trip and visually entice clients to book with you.

When you ‘Highlight’ a post by clicking on the star (see example below) it enlarges the post to the size of the bottom post in this example. (see arrow) Talk about attention-grabbing!

How to Highlight a post

Travel pros love the benefit of being able to showcase upcoming group departures, packages that are hot-sellers as well as unique destinations that will excite and inspire clients.


Pin to the top of your Page Do you ever wish your best posts could stay at the top of your page? Leverage that article you’ve written about an upcoming group departure so it doesn’t get hidden in the flow of other posts. Now you can ‘Pin’ a story to the top of your page for a week. Making it stick to the top of your page gives you the chance to fully market a unique product, highlight a new destination or a special you’re providing to your clients.

Here’s how it works:

• Find the post you’d like to appear at the top of your page.
• Hover and click the pencil icon at the top of the pos
• Click ‘Pin to Top’
• A small ribbon-like graphic will appear at the top of your post indicating it’s been ‘Pinned’ How to Pin a Post

Savvy travel marketers are using this feature to Pin stories, promotions, offers and events to maximize their visibility. Only 1 pinned story is allowed at one time. You can change the pinned messages at any time. The potential for pinning is powerful! Imagine: pinning a top suppliers’ newest product to the top of your page prominently featuring your next group departure showcasing an article you’ve written about your latest travel discovery providing a link to your website or on-line booking engine

This is just the beginning of a series of articles on these changes at Facebook and how they will affect you. For a quick cheat-sheet, Facebook has put this together to highlight the newest features.

If you run out of time for your own social media presence, remember I’ll do the work for you! Build your site? YES Maintain your site with multiple postings? YES Coach you on your social marketing? YES Connect with me online Join me socially: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

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